so, for example, one of the things that we were working on with liam, is to ask kelly, for example, how was her day, what did she do today, what did she do yesterday? and, spontaneously, one time when, when, uh, his dad came home, he asked his dad how his day was, and he had never done that before, and it was a spontaneous. >> reporter: but children with autism are just one group of people with special needs researchers hope robots can help. here in los angeles, at the southern california school of engineering, they're also pushing ahead on the frontiers of robotics, looking for new work for robots to do, not way off in the future, things like running, and getting up stairs, or carrying heavy loads. they're convinced here that there are a lot of things that robots can be helping with today, instead of waiting for far of technologies, its called socially assistive robotics.